Trauma bonding, also known as Stockholm Syndrome, is a psychological condition that occurs when a person forms an attachment to an abusive individual or situation. It is a type of attachment disorder that can develop as a result of ongoing abuse, neglect, or trauma. Individuals who experience trauma bonding often feel emotionally attached to their abusers, despite the harm and pain they cause.
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through our affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. Your support in purchasing through these links enables us to keep creating valuable content. Thank you!
The term “trauma bond” was first coined by Patrick Carnes in the early 1990s to describe the bond that develops between a victim and their abuser. It is a survival mechanism that allows individuals to maintain a connection with their abuser, even when the abuse is ongoing.
Trauma bonding can happen in any type of relationship where there is ongoing abuse, such as in romantic partnerships, family relationships, or even in hostage situations.
Trauma bonding is often a result of intermittent reinforcement, a tactic that abusers use to control their victims. Intermittent reinforcement involves alternating between rewarding and punishing behavior, which can cause the victim to feel confused and emotionally invested in the relationship. This can make it difficult for the victim to leave the relationship, as they may feel that the good times outweigh the bad.
Some signs of trauma bonding include:
- Feeling emotionally attached to an abuser
- Making excuses for the abuser’s behavior
- Feeling isolated from friends and family
- Feeling that leaving the relationship would be too difficult or dangerous
- Blaming oneself for the abuse
Healing from trauma bonding is possible, but it can be a challenging process. It often requires professional support, such as therapy, to help individuals break free from their attachment to their abuser and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Support groups and self-help books can also be helpful resources for those who have experienced trauma bonding.
In conclusion, trauma bonding is a psychological condition that occurs when a person forms an attachment to an abusive individual or situation. It is a result of ongoing abuse, and can make it difficult for victims to leave abusive relationships. Recognizing the signs of trauma bonding and seeking professional support can help individuals break free from their attachment to their abuser and begin the healing process.
- Carnes, P. (1997). The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships. Health Communications, Inc.
- Dutton, D. G., & Painter, S. L. (1981). Traumatic bonding: The development of emotional attachments in battered women and other relationships of intermittent abuse. Victimology: An International Journal, 6(4), 139-155.
- Stines, S. (2018). Trauma Bonding: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment. Psych Central. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/trauma-bonding-why-you-feel-addicted-to-a-toxic-person/